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By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie PolicyPrivacy Policyand our Terms hah Service. What is the origin of the phrase "needle in a hay stack"?

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Initially I thought it was a game once played but I haven't found any mention of it outside of it's idiomatic use. The idiom in full is: It means when something is extremely difficult or impossible to find. Data Hiding: Raggo, Chet Hosmer.

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Not only is a needle in a haystack nearly impossible to find without a magnetbut more The needle to your hay stack it is very dangerous for the animals consuming the hay.

It is a problem with a dire consequence if the solution is not found. We're talking about having to burn the haystack or let a horse swallow a needle.

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fo I think this is closer to the meaning of the phrase. It appears that the origin of the phrase goes back to the s.

It was first recorded to be used in Don Quixote de la Mancha written fromwhich was written by Miguel de Cervantes.

I'm quite sure it wasn't a game but was implied something that was almost impossible to achieve even back in those days.

Here's the reference: I found this at http: When hay was stored in stacks by the farmers many years ago! The farmer would use long steel bars, which were called needles, at spaced out intervals along the stack and left The needle to your hay stack, the farmer could then check, at regular times by pulling the needles out, if needld hay was over heating.

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The problem was was that Milf dating in Sag harbor the needles position were not marked before being inserted, then it was very difficult to find The needle to your hay stack needles.

I believe that is where the saying originates. The expression ho the same in German and in Italian: This expression is also found in Portuguese: The fact that it is found in German, Italian and Portuguese as well as English would lead one to suspect that it nsedle very old, indeed.

It would be interesting to research other Indo-european languages such as Persian and Urdu to see if that expression is found there. In doing research into the Arabic language and ancient history, I was surprised to find that many of our modern last couple of centuries neefle have their origins in old Arabic proverbs.

Thank you for your interest in this question.

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Celeritas Celeritas 1, 17 41 I vaguely remember hearing that a needle was a long tool used in haymaking. Very difficult finding hat.

The hard-to-find origin is hidden in a haystack somewhere. Time to protect the question, nine answers three deleted with no upvotes, of which eight were posted by users with 1 rep. The first example nedle this idea in print was in the works of St.

needle-in-a-haystack definition: Noun (uncountable) 1. Alternative spelling of needle in a (uncountable) 2. (idiomatic) Something that is difficult or. someone or something that is very hard to find Searching for your earring at the park will be like looking for a needle in a haystack. Where does the old idiom “finding a needle in a haystack” come from? According to my physical copy of Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, the.

Thomas More in This is what the OED has as the earliest citation in English, too. I am The needle to your hay stack this phrase is much older.

It could be even have been used some thousand years ago since men have been drying grass for the animals in the winter. Note that the term "meadow" is used and not "haystack", it's the idea of looking for something tiny in a vast stretch of territory that is being conveyed. Have you Companionship no strings up the roman or greek history? In the german language SE a user suggests the needle could have been ennemy spy hiding in the fields.

Do you have any evidence to support your claim that potential danger is any part, let alone the "more important" part, of the common meaning of this phrase? I have asked this question a month ago in another SE.

The needle to your hay stack

Yesterday I have posted an sstack as I found a hint that the danger of hurting yourself when searching a small sharp object in a haystock is an important aspect in this phrase! Most importantly, it misreads its own source Bartlett's as saying that the idiom is from a translation from Don Quixote.

The usage is from that work, not any work of Cervantes. Sarah Meisner Sarah Meisner 1.

A Needle In A Haystack | AstroWright

Welcome to ELU alan. Thank you for this answer, it sounds highly plausible.

If you could find and quote any evidence for it it would be even better. I am suspicious of your answer. Hay is still stored in stacks.

Hay is not dried before being stacked; proper stacking allows the air to circulate through the stack. Wet hay generates a lot of heat when it spoils.

Steel bars would do nothing but conduct the heat through the stack.

Urban Dictionary: Needle in a Haystack

Steel bars would be easy to find. The origins of the phrase predate steel bars.

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I could be convinced by evidence that this answer isn't misleading. Please provide some. Hello, thank you for your welcome, i'm afraid i don't have any quotes or evidence hTe back up my explanation of the meaning.

When something is very difficult to find it is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Especially because the area you have to search is too large. The meaning for the phrase Looking for a Needle In a Haystack, and the origins of this idiom and more!. someone or something that is very hard to find Searching for your earring at the park will be like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Thanks for your welcome, when grass is cut it's very important that it's dried properly before it can be stacked as hay, any moisture in it will make it over heat and spoil, hay is compacted when stored, air won't circulate around it.

The rods needles were inserted into the stack and left there, periodically ro farmer would pull them out, check the heat, then push them back in. If you observe the other answers you will see that the expression is far older The needle to your hay stack would be any Ths bars.

But in response to deadrat, it is true that in some climates the hay is not immediately stacked but is hung up to dry first. In Norway there are sort of "clotheslines" running through the hayfields to facilitate this. Dave Eastman Dave Eastman 1. Needle in a haystack's origin is Arabic. Part of an ancient Arabic proverb.

Possibly making their way into English Sexiest girl European languages during the Crusades.

Michael Michael 1 1. Original proverb? History of the sewing neelde Featured on Meta. Unicorn Meta Zoo 3: How do we grade questions?

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